Étienne-Maurice Falconet (1716–1791)
Artist Étienne-Maurice Falconet of Paris first learned the technique of working in stone, marble, wood and clay at his uncle’s workshop. In 1734, he was apprenticed to court sculptor J.B. Lemoyne. Besides working with these materials, Falconet also studied theory and wrote. Later, he was invited to teach at Académie Royale. Falconet’s breakthrough came in 1757, when Madame de Pompadour – famous as Louis XV’s mistress – bought his ‘L'amour menaçant’. The sculpture’s success opened many doors for him. On the advice of his new patron, Falconet was subsequently appointed director of the sculpture atelier at Sèvres porcelain factory. He remained there until 1766, when he left Paris to complete a commission in St Petersburg: an equestrian statue of Peter the Great. Falconet returned from Russia in 1778. In 1783, a stroke brought an end to his working career.